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Arizona Health Director Will Humble Quits

Arizona's top health official will step down March 3 after 23 years with the state.

Will Humble submitted his resignation to Governor Doug Ducey on Friday.

"This has been an awesome job," he wrote Monday on the Arizona Department of Health Services Director's Blog. However, he continued, "Careers have a life cycle. Figuring out when it's time to turn the page and move on to something else is a hard thing to do. That time has come for me."

Humble has not yet named an interim or permanent director of the agency.

As for himself, he said, "I don't have any exact professional plans yet, I think I'll just catch my breath for a while and see what turns up -- but I'm sure it will be in public health in one way, shape, or form."

In a letter to the governor announcing his intention to leave, Humble said he believes he is leaving the Arizona Department of Health Services "in good shape."

"Our public health preparedness programs are world-class and our prevention activities continue to be used nationally as models of excellence and best practices," he wrote, noting that the state has improved it's ability to respond to communicable disease outbreaks, reduced obesity and smoking rates, and reduced prescription drug abuse, among other things.

Humble has been a part of the health department since 1992, during which time he served as the bureau chief for epidemiology and disease control, assistant director for public-health preparedness, and deputy director of public health. He took the agency's helm in 2009.

As director, Humble helped to put together Arizona's first comprehensive state health assessment, overhauled healthcare institution licensing programs and oversaw the implementation of a voter-approved medical-marijuana program. Last year, Humble was involved in two lawsuits related to the marijuana law, including a dispute over whether to make the drug available to people suffering from post-traumatic stress-disorder.

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Elizabeth Stuart
Contact: Elizabeth Stuart